Scottish actor Brian Cox fought back tears during a U.K. Tv show as he discovered his great-grandfather was declared insane after years of ill health in the early 1900s.

The Manhunter star looked into his past for documentary Secrets from the Workhouse, and discovered that his relative Patrick MCCann suffered a serious injury which left him disabled and unable to work at the age of 40.

MCCann was also a single parent to his young son, Samuel, after his wife's death, and Cox was left visibly upset as he looked at records concerning time his great-grandfather spent in the workhouse.

Cox said, "He just kept going in and out. It's unbelievable. And the boy - this is his life. Poorhouse to poorhouse to poorhouse. Doesn't make any sense, it's just appalling. He's a statistic, my great-grandfather. Poverty to poverty... it's this endless assault on human dignity."

The actor choked back tears as he read about MCCann's fate, declaring, "Oh my God. The 19th of June, 1911, Patrick MCCann is declared insane... Well that's just awful. I mean, it's just down this spiral into the abyss and finally he goes nuts."

The two-part show aired in the U.K. on Tuesday night (25Jun13) and concludes next week (begs01Jul13).